An expurgated history of some key moments in Bay Area environmental history
1965: Fred Rohe opens New Age Natural Foods on Stanyan Street in San Francisco. He goes on to open the first natural foods restaurant in 1967, Good Karma Cafe on Valencia Street. Rohe would go on to open the first natural foods distribution company in Northern California, New Age Distributing in San Jose in 1970 and found Organic Merchants (OM), the first natural foods retailer trade group.
1967: The Human Be-in is held Jan. 14 in Golden Gate Park (as a prelude to the Summer of Love) with as a major theme higher consciousness, ecological awareness, personal empowerment, cultural and political decentralization.
1967: Alan Chadwick comes to UC Santa Cruz and establishes the Student Garden Project and training program, which would train hundreds of today's organic farmers.
1968: The Whole Earth Catalogue, published by the Point Foundation and edited by Stewart Brand out of Gate 5 Road in Sausalito is introduced, providing tools, philosophy, and reviews to the growing back-to-the-land movement, helping promote ecological living and culture alternative sustainable culture decades before those words became mainstream.
1969: Brower, after losing his job at the Sierra Club in part because of his opposition to the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, founds Friends of the Earth, the cutting edge activist group that would eventually have affiliates in 77 nations around the globe and become the world's largest grassroots environmental network.
1970: Peninsula resident Neil Young writes and sings the lyrics "Look at Mother Nature on the Run in the 1970s."
1970: Berkeley Ecology Center opens.
1971: Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund is established, marking the beginning of an explosion in environmental law.
1971: Alice Waters opens Chez Panisse, serving up California Cuisine and altering the Bay Area diet helping to create a market for local fresh organic fruits and vegetables. 1971: Berkeley resident Francis Moore Lappé publishes her best-selling book Diet for a Small Planet. Two million copies are sold and as the first book to expose the enormous waste built into U.S. grain-fed meat production, for her a symbol of a global food system creating hunger out of plenty; her effort alters millions of diets.
1971: San Francisco dressmaker Alvin Duskin launches a campaign to limit high-rise office development in San Francisco, creating new allies and a new coalition for urban environmentalism.
1972: The Trust for Public Land, a national, nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, historic sites, and rural lands, is founded by Huey Johnson, Doug Ferguson and Marty Rosen in San Francisco. TPL would go on to protect 2.8 million acres of land and is key in getting land trusts started in Napa, Sonoma, Marin, Big Sur, and around the state.
1972: The Don Edwards San Francisco Bay National Wildlife Refuge, first urban wildlife refuge in the United States, is established, encompassing 30,000 acres of open bay, salt pond, salt marsh, mudflat, upland and vernal pool habitats located in South Bay.
1972: The Save Our Shores campaign, developed in part by Bay Area residents, results in a state initiative, the Coastal Act of 1972, which is passed by the voters and establishes the first comprehensive coastal watershed policy in the nation.
1974: Berkeley Ecology Center starts the first curbside recycling approach in California, one of first such programs in the nation.